Five Engineering Specializations with an Excellent Job Outlook

Engineering Specializations

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Petroleum Engineering
  • Marine Engineering
  • Civil Engineering

More than 40 engineering specializations exist for STEM majors to design solutions to real-world human problems in diverse niches. Choosing to study engineering at an ABET-accredited college sets you up for professional success in several top-paying sub-fields. Engineering students garner the #1 highest average starting salary at $64,891. According to Business Insider, one-third of Fortune 500 CEOs majored in engineering, including Jeff Bezos, Mary Barra, and Tim Cook. The prestige of an engineering degree only benefits you if you select a specialized engineering field that’s hiring though. Let’s review the five engineering branches where the upcoming job outlook is excellent.

1. Biomedical Engineering

Biomedical engineering is a unique specialization that blends biology, engineering, and healthcare for the creation of cutting-edge medical equipment that saves people’s lives. These engineers are involved in developing better artificial limbs, MRI machines, medications, incubators, implants, and much more. Biomedical engineers optimize patient care by finding solutions with diagnostic or therapeutic uses for the human body. They work in hospitals, medical manufacturing firms, biomedical labs, and pharmaceutical companies. The BLS projects much faster-than-average biomedical engineering job growth at 23 percent for 5,100 new jobs by 2024.

2. Environmental Engineering

As climate change concerns rise, so does the excellent job outlook for environmental engineers to use life science principles for promoting sustainable solutions that protect Mother Earth. This specialization is concerned with leading environmental improvements that reduce carbon emissions, filter drinking water, control pollution, minimize waste, and more. Environmental engineers also work as consultants to inform businesses and government agencies about the ecological impact of their plans and ways to go “green.” The BLS shows fast environmental engineering job growth by 12 percent for 6,800 more jobs before 2024.

3. Petroleum Engineering

Petroleum engineering is another of the in-demand engineering specializations that seeks to design the best methods for drilling oil and gas from deposits within Earth’s crust. These engineers test various means for injecting water, steam, and chemicals underground to force out more gasoline for global energy profit. Alongside geoscientists, petroleum engineers mostly work for oil and mining companies like Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, and Chevron to keep the world fueled. According to the BLS, 3,400 petroleum engineering jobs will be added for 10 percent growth by 2024.

4. Marine Engineering

Marine engineering is a small, yet mighty specialization where professionals create the schematics for, manufacture, test, and repair ship vessels for transport by sea. This niche focuses on regulating the structural integrity of naval bodies like submarines, oil tankers, aircraft carriers, and cargo ships, including for the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard. Marine engineers strive to make water transportation faster and safer by advancing ships’ internal systems for propulsion, ventilation, electrical distribution, and more. The BLS predicts faster-than-average marine engineering job growth by 9 percent for 700 jobs by 2024.

5. Civil Engineering

One of the biggest specializations that’s also in-demand is civil engineering, which is concerned with the design and construction of infrastructure systems in compliance of DOT regulations. Engineers in this sub-field handle projects that build or repair bridges, highways, airport runways, dams, sewage systems, and more. Civil engineers typically work in engineering services or local and federal government to ensure transportation systems are safe, functional, and cost-effective. The BLS shows faster-than-average job growth at 8 percent for 23,600 new civil engineering jobs before 2024.

It’s important for engineering majors to consider which branches are thriving and which are shriveling up before picking a niche. At ABET-accredited schools, you can usually specialize by declaring a formal concentration, self-customizing your electives, conducting focused research, or interviewing for in-field internships. In addition to these five booming engineering specializations, other hiring sub-fields include sales engineering, nanotechnology engineering, photonics engineering, water resources engineering, and health and safety engineering.

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